PREACHING AT APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY- NOVEMBER 15, 2011- BY BROTHER MICAH ARMSTRONG

Monday November 14, 2011-Boone, North Carolina:  I was talking to a brother a few weeks ago and he mentioned about Appalachian State University being a good university to preach at.  From this point even though it was out of the way and not in my plans I believed the Lord was leading me to do some preaching on this campus. 

 

FAILED PLAN

 

I had planned to begin preaching here on Monday and leave from Tennessee early in the morning.  After preaching Saturday night, Sunday morning, four jail services on Sunday afternoon and then preaching again Sunday night I was somewhat fatigued and decided to wait another day. 

 

HELP FROM A BUDDY

 

While driving to Boone I received a phone call from a preacher I had heard of but had not yet met named Buddy.  He wanted to join me preaching at Appalachian State University the following day. 

 

Tuesday November 15, 2011-Appalachian State University-Boone, North Carolina:  Preacher Buddy wanted to start preaching earlier than I normally like to start.  I usually try to start around or just before noon.  He wanted to start around 11:15 AM.  I agreed to meet him on campus. 

 

It was a very overcast day and I believe it was slightly sprinkling as we walked to the free speech location.  I began preaching around 11:20 AM in the drizzle but soon it stopped and the sun peaked out from the clouds. 

 

SLOW START

 

It took longer than normal to get any response.  I think it may be due to the fact we started earlier than necessary.  I preached about 15 to 20 minutes before I began to build any kind of crowd and it was a small one at that.  It went from a handful and gradually continued to grow to probably 75-100.  This is not a very big crowd on some campuses but especially on this campus because the free speech area is so large and spread out that 100 people seems like a very small number. 

 

The crowd was very civil and calm and I was able to preach without much heckling or interruptions.  I would preach awhile and then someone would ask a question and I would preach and answer their question.  The crowd continued to grow some and maybe reached 150-175 at the largest.  Again the crowd is spread over such a large area it did not seem like much. 

 

FIRST AMENDMENT IF NO ONE COMPLAINS

 

Surprisingly I was stopped by the police around 12:20 PM.  The officers seemed very inexperienced and tried to put on a good front.  They asked for my ID (this has been a trend this semester) and told us they had received complaints.  They told us we were allowed to preach as long as no one complained.  I was recording my preaching and our conversation and I knew they did not know what they were talking about. 

 

INSTIGATING A RIOT? 

 

I politely but firmly explained to them the purpose of first amendment is to protect unpopular speech.  The fact it may offend someone is no reason to remove them.  They went on some about how we could not instigate a riot.  This was somewhat bogus too but it was humorous because the crowd was so calm and civil I couldn’t believe they were concerned about a riot.  I assured them we were not there to start a riot. 

 

They stood and watched while I continued to preach and answer questions.  By the time I returned I think the crowd size had diminished some to around 100.  I preached until 1:00 PM and turned the preaching over to Preacher Buddy. 

 

I held the banner while Preacher Buddy preached.  After some time the police came over and said they were going to leave because everything seemed to be under control.  I told them sometimes people call and complain and make things up that are not going on.  I try to always be polite and show respect to police officers even if I believe they are wrong. 

 

ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED

 

I had a good conversation with a professing Christian student who believed OSAS (Once saved always saved).  I showed him several passages he could not respond to.  I gave him my contact information and he said he would get back with me but has not. 

 

During Preacher Buddy’s preaching the crowd size grew to around 250-300 at one point but the crowd seemed to remain amazingly calm and civil.  Several guys were playing hacky sack around Preacher Buddy while he preached and this seemed to intrigue the crowd. 

 

UNUSUAL CROWD

 

Preacher Buddy found himself in the awkward situation we campus preachers sometimes find ourselves in as much of the time he did not get much feedback, questions or response from the crowd.  They seemed to be just listening.  This is very difficult for the preacher because we usually get so much feedback and questions and this helps keep things moving.  The crowd size gradually went back down to around 60-75 and Preacher Buddy turned the preaching back over to me around 2:00 PM. 

 

WHAT DID I SAY? 

 

The crowd was so calm and civil before I started and so I thought I would have a great fruitful session of answering questions.  However as soon as I started everyone began talking to me at once and asking questions while giving me no chance to respond.  I battled it out with this unruly bunch until around 3:20 PM.  Preacher Buddy was also surrounded with a group of students.  Somehow it seemed to me I had all the unruly ones and he had all the open ones asking good questions and listening for an answer. 

 

Sister Elizabeth had good conversations throughout the day also.  After leaving the group I had been preaching to at 3:20 PM I walked to where she was.  She had a very good conversation with a female student who grew up Baptist but did not believe in OSAS.  We had a good discussion with her on the Trinity as she had many questions.

 

Preacher Buddy still had a nice group of 8-10 students around him asking good questions and listening to him.  We all left the campus around 4:30 PM and had fellowship over a meal.

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